In life, it is important to know your individual strengths and to recognize your limitations or weaknesses. For a person employed professionally this becomes more important. You really need to know what you do well and where you need help. On my first day in a new job, I was introduced to my administrative assistant, “Terry”. This was a luxury I had never previously enjoyed. Later, when we met privately, we discussed how we worked best and told her what I thought were my strengths and areas that she could really help me.
Over the course of the next few weeks, we worked on a process that allowed her to assist me in those areas that limited my effectiveness. I gave Terry the right to eliminate any superficial items from my inbox, things that were not of high priority to the company but did add to number of daily activities I needed to complete. I had worked for companies that had no filtering process at all. Every offer, ad, mailer or opportunity that was addressed to me or to the title I held, ended up in my in-basket. With her assistance that came to a halt. Now I was able to address the true issues of the company. I also was able to communicate effectively with her so that we could outline financial control processes and she would then write up the fuller process. This even went so far that when we needed to make significant changes to our facility, I was able to delegate most of this responsibility to her. She had a remarkable ability to communicate the information that I needed to know and sift out the more mundane. In the process, my strengths improved. I didn’t have to have my energy drained performing tasks that were simply not areas of strength for me. Terry was able to get these done efficiently and I was significantly more productive.
Many business owners face similar problems. They lack the resources, experience or manpower to be as productive or as profitable as they can be. Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know. That is why it is important to surround yourself with a good team. This team should have a background that is sufficiently broad to provide familiarity with other business perspectives, methodologies or processes that may be able to influence your company toward greater success. I believe that, particularly for small firms, it is important to look for help outside of the company walls. What may be state of the art within the company might be really be antiquated thought in most parts of the business world. Someone outside the company might provide a different more novel approach that turns those weaknesses into strengths.
Recently, I went through a SWOT Analysis with a new client. In this process, the company points out their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. After the session, one of the managers confided in me that they go through this process on a regular basis. He said, “it may have seemed like we have a number of weaknesses but you’d be amazed at the number of our strengths that we previously would have listed in the weaknesses category. Once we are able to recognize those problems, we take steps that really improve us as a company.”
That is the key to this process. Know yourself as a company well enough and done right, you need to be brutally honest with yourself to recognize you do have problems. Fixing those problems is therapeutic and you end up with a better company. At B2B CFO®, we have the knowledge and experience to provide those insights. We’d love the opportunity to help.